Life of a NUS Business (Acc) Student: AY 16/17 Semester 1 (Exchange)

Old Town @ Tallinn

It felt weird if I skipped a semester of module reviews even though I was on exchange. Thus, I decided to do a review anyways despite this being over 6 months overdue. I know it’s hard to relate unless you (the reader) are going to the exact same university, so I’ll keep the module reviews short and allocate more words on some tips in terms of studying and module planning for exchange.

For my SEP, I spent my Year 3 Semester 1 in Stockholm University (SU) in Sweden for this semester. It was my last choice so amidst the competitive semester I was grateful to just be able to get a slot. The 2 core modules I really wanted to map overseas were BSP3001 & MNO2007, so I only applied to schools which offered both the above modules. The semester in SU is split into 4 periods and how it works is that you will complete 1 module every month, instead of studying for all your modules continuously back in NUS. It definitely felt weird as it’s just 1 month of intensive studying for 1 module, and it was interesting nonetheless to experience a different education system in another continent.

P.S. For SU the grading system is as follows: A = 90 & above, B = 80-89, C = 70-79, D = 60-69, E = 50-59; and you need an E to pass. 

Fundamentals of Strategic Management

Mapped to: BSP3001 Strategic Management

This module is THE module to map if you are going for exchange. All the NUS Business peeps did this module together so I had the luxury of going the group project with my schoolmates. Did a case study on IKEA, group project on BMW and ended with a final test of 30 MCQs. Our group skipped the tutorials that we were not presenting to go travelling HAHA (yes this is the essence of exchange). Prof liked NUS students for some reason so did well in the CA components,  so I came into the finals slightly overconfident because I knew of the fact that I only needed to pass. Finished the paper within 20 minutes and left the venue to prepare for my first solo trip.

Final Grade: D

Fashion Marketing

Mapped to: MKT3422X Topics in Marketing.

Took this module with E, even though the ideal module for me to take during Period 2 is Corporate Finance (FIN3101), but dumb me didn’t do his module planning in a smart fashion. (this shows the importance of module planning kids HAHA) I could have taken a level 4000 finance module but it had a lot of pre-requisites so I decided to make life simple and take a marketing module instead.

I always found marketing to be a fun topic, so I was okay with taking this module because it gave me a chance to have a taste of how marketing is like without needing to worry about the end result. The module turned out to be slightly disappointing as I felt like it didn’t really value add to what I already knew about marketing. My group did an analysis of Adidas Originals for our project, which was really done in a half-fuck way. Finals were really simple because 50% of the paper was a copy and paste from last semester’s paper.

Final Grade: A (maybe I should change course and go to specialize marketing? lmao what a joke hahaha)

Business Ethics

Mapped to: MNO2007 Leadership & Ethics

A module I did alone I was assigned to this module several times and had to keep requesting to drop the module. I have friends who did well in this module back in NUS but given how bad I did for MNO1001 and it’s another 30% class participation module, it was a module I really really wanted to map overseas. This is one of the modules that isn’t commonly offered as compared to other modules (Among universities in Korea, only KU offered it).

Got grouped with a Swed, a French and a HK girl for this module, and it was only me who studied English as their main language. I had to go through a lot of pain to edit our paper because there were several grammatical and phrasing mistakes. The most memorable part of the module is how I trekked through a freaking snowstorm just to give a presentation, only to see half of my group missing when I arrived LOL. (yes fellow exchangers also not caring about school haha) 

The finals were something I was scared of failing because it was purely based on the textbook. I didn’t even buy the textbook, which cost $100 and I’m not going to spend that amount of money on studies for exchange please HAHA. Okay the real reason I was scared was because the re-test was in the middle of my travelling plans so I really had to pass it, which I did thankfully. In the end, it’s a relief that I managed to finally clear this module.

Final Grade: B

Finance II

Mapped to: FIN3102 Investment Analysis & Portfolio Management

Mostly calculations and to be honest, I felt it was easier than FIN2004 I took 1 year ago. The module was a whole was super straightforward and there was nothing complicated with the formulas learnt. There was online quizzes and a short paper which was done in pair work for continual assessment. Tutorials and past year papers are more than enough for revision of the final examination.

The final examination was 4 hours long so it’s opposite of what I usually face back in NUS: I have way more than enough time to finish my paper here. The joke of this module was how I pointed out an error in the question, and I was told that there was nothing wrong with the question. After 15 minutes, the professor announced the exact same error… yeahhhhh seriously? *insert bitch please emoji*. Yays to clearing a finance module here in Sweden!

Final Grade: A

happy mind, happy life

Final Thoughts + Tips on SEP 

I found myself having more than 1 month to travel because I ended my semester much earlier than my peers in SU. The norm is to take 1 module in each period, but I cleared 2 modules in Period 3 so my semester effectively ended at the end of November. YES TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL!!! I listed some goods and bads about going to SU, which are as follows:

Why NOT SU? ):

  • If you are tight with your finances; Stockholm can be an expensive city to have your exchange in.
  • If your attention is to overload, because SU is one of the school which only allows you to take 4 modules and give you a free dummy UE module to make sure you clear 20MCs.
  • Not much variety of CCAs you can join, but then again you won’t have time to attend them if you are constantly on the move!

Why SU? 🙂

  • Very chill timetable, not very strict on attendance. You will find yourself with a lot of free time to travel 😛
  • You will find yourself having to put much less effort into studying (this is true for nearly all universities in Europe, but there are a few universities where you do have to study properly to pass)
  • English standard in Sweden is very high relative to other European countries, so no language barriers and I dare say locals in Scandinavian countries (which include Finland & are the nicest people ever.
  • Transport is as good as 24/7 in Stockholm, although frequency is much lower in the wee hours in the morning, so you won’t find yourself stuck if you are travelling in and out of the country at weird timings.
  • Did I mention Swedish Lapland is one of the best winter experiences ever? There are many student tours available from Stockholm and okay I nearly froze to death there HAHA.

In regards to module mapping and planning, the best tip I can give is to have contingencies/Plan Bs, because you might not be able to get all your preferred modules. This is especially important for accountancy students who do not have many UEs to play with in their module planning. If you can’t really map business modules and have to do UEs during SEP, be prepared that you might need to overload in your future semesters, so check that you will be able to clear your university-level requirements!

The worst case scenario is that you fail a module overseas, so study enough to pass but don’t go mugging like crazy because no one is going to care if you get straight As during your SEP. It’s not wrong to study hard, but you are wasting precious time overseas if you over-study; time which you could have used to travel around.

Apologies for the slight deviation and constant mentioning of travelling, but I really did break a lot of boundaries during exchange and it was a truly awesome possum semester which I am grateful that I had the opportunity to go for. To those who are reading this and going for your own SEPs,  There will be times where every exchange student have their own struggles, be it being home sick, missing your friends and family, or hating the weather. The months you spend abroad may seem like a long time, but as soon as it is all over, you wonder what happened to them. You might think you have a lot of time, but poof in no time you will be back in Singapore. When it all ends, all the mix of emotions you experienced will be all worth it.

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